By: Eddie McFalls
Reflections on Chapter 22 of Spiritual Leadership by Oswald Sanders.
“If it bleeds, it leads”. This is the motto of news outlets around the world. At least the movies and TV shows say so. If you are skeptical just spend some time with any given news broadcast, or metropolitan newspaper. Bloodshed, murder, robbery or other sensational events all make it to front of the line with amazing regularity.
Maybe this accounts for the scarcity of sermons on the man Nehemiah or passages from the account of his role in ancient Jerusalem. There are no battlefield heroics to relate; no menacing enemies vanquished.
On closer examination there are no stories of crossing a sea on dry ground, wild birds punctually delivering dinner, nor axe heads swimming. Sure, there are those behind the scenes interventions of God. But the totally thrilling, astounding stuff is just not there.
It may be happening too frequently that we preachers overlook the somewhat mundane storyline (comparatively) in search of the dramatic or unusual text. In doing so we deprive ourselves and those who may be in our tutelage some priceless insights.
The few times I’ve heard Nehemiah preached from seems to focus on the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem in 52 days. And, curiously the sermons appear to become of super importance during a building project at the local church.
Nehemiah’s great task was not getting stones stacked and mortared upon one another or stout lumber fashioned into substantial gates. His role was not so much rebuilding walls; it was rebuilding people. I’m not certain he knew much about construction, but it is quite evident he knew about prayer and he knew about people.
Dr. Sanders once again has penned words and phrases that concisely, yet vividly, describe the task, the tools, the tactics and “the tradesman”. If you hurried through this chapter because it is the last one, I’d encourage you to revisit these few pages.
If we were frank about it, we’d probably have to admit the vast percentage of our leadership looks more like Nehemiah than Moses or Elijah. Thank God for those powerful encounters where amazing things are gifted to us. But don’t discount the day to day application of tried and true principles of godly leadership administered by Nehemiah, and others like him.
Many of these are the type of things that we can learn. Many of these are the type things that we can apply. Many of these are the type of things we can teach others and train them to apply appropriately.
Nehemiah didn’t often get the limelight; but he did get the job done, by God’s grace. Adopting Nehemiah’s approach may not bring you fame; but it will quite possibly be a key factor in bringing success to the endeavors God places before you.
“The test of spiritual leadership is the achievement of it objective. In Nehemiah’s case, the record is clear:
“So the wall was completed” (Nehemiah 6:15)”